5 pantry staples that will repeatedly save your ass

This is how I feel when I have time to cook big, fancy dishes. But usually, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

If you are reading this, then you are a human being living in the 21st century. And as many great things life in the 21st century provides for human beings (indoor plumbing! Weird shoesInstagram!), one thing it does not provide is excess free time. That can create some problems for those of us working to incorporate fresh, whole foods into our lifestyles.

I had the best intentions when I bought a big bunch of kale last Sunday. Salads all week long, hooray! This’ll be great, right?

Flash forward to Monday morning, when my coworkers and I divvy up who needs to cover what concerts this week. Suddenly, my Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights are devoted to grabbing dinner with clients, attending shows, making an appearance at after-parties—not much room in my schedule anymore for a quiet little salad at home. The next time I see that kale, it’ll probably be a different color than it was when I bought it.

Thankfully, I was able to preemptively salvage my greens by turning them into these pancakes, but the point here is that if you want to regularly eat clean, it’s vital that you stock your kitchen with the right staples—the kind that stick around forever and won’t make your fridge smell funky while you’re away at an unexpected work event/water polo game/emergency happy hour. Because, hi, we’re human beings, and most of us lead pretty crazy lives.

Here are five foods that should always be in your kitchen; they’re cheap as hell, they won’t stink up the fridge, they’re packed with nutrients and are super easy to prepare.

Get the full list of must-have pantry staples on Eat Well. Party Hard.


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